1932

Abstract

The article investigates how consumerism is perceived as an unremarkable part of quotidian existence, as a patriotic duty at various moments, as an indicator of social class, and as a means of semiotic self-fashioning. In consumerism, the tension between the sumptuary restraint on conspicuous consumption, which characterized the early Protestant ethic, and the dependence of capitalism itself on boundless commodity circulation, emerges again and again. I investigate how certain forms of consumerism, relating to excess and improper storage, are reclassified in medical terms. I also investigate modes of strategic consumerism, which try to bridge the gap between producer and consumer, and how certain forms of performative labor are themselves consumed. I close with a few reflections on sites for future study: shopping as a form of underrecognized labor, and an auto-ethnographic turn for academics, inspecting the reach of consumerism into academic practices and universities themselves.

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2018-10-21
2024-07-19
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